Before you List…
Many homeowners do not realize how important it is to consider the condition of their homes before listing their property for sale. After an offer is accepted, most buyers hire an independent inspector for an examination. This is where a saavy seller can take preliminary steps to protect their sale so that it has a better chance of proceeding to contract without problems.
Pre-Listing Inspections – One seller I worked with on two different homes starting 15 years ago and eventually sold a home to, impressed me with her preparation. She hired an inspector who evaluated her home, and she repaired certain items, after which the report was revised. Items she did not repair were disclosed in the inspection report, which was laid out on a table along with a survey for real estate agents and customers to review on tour. The listed price of the property factored the condition of the home and offers reflected what the customers had read in the seller’s report. Although another inspection was conducted by an inspector hired by the customers, there were no surprises, and more importantly, the customers did not attempt to renegotiate the price after the initial handshake. I had a listing with one visible characteristic which many customers pointed to and asked about. The seller did not know anything about it, so rather than have it possibly cause a concern that would make a customer hesitate in placing an offer, an engineer did an inspection, wrote a review with an explanation, and it was made available to customers; The house subsequently sold at a strong price and the one item that had been a question was never an issue.
Mechanical – Homeowners who contact their heating and HVAC vendors for a review, maintenance, and possibly repairs of their boiler, furnace and hot water heater also avert possible headaches. Soot, corrosion and leaks are items that are visible and can be easy to fix. During the summer months, many basements can be damp; Dehumidifiers with a hose attachment to a drain are inexpensive and make a difference. Buried oil tanks and how a seller approaches them are important. While many oil tanks that are buried can operate without problems for years, buyers and their attorneys become concerned that there are possible environmental issues as a result. Many sellers “abandon” buried oil tanks prior to listing their homes and introduce a new oil tank positioned above ground and/or within a structure.
Pests – Life in the country attracts buyers but it also attracts insects and rodents, which like it or not, want a home and a good meal too! Having a termite or pest control specialist walk through the home, remedy any problems and having a certificate or receipt showing a clean bill of health is relatively inexpensive.
Certifications – There are many occasions homeowners have renovations done on their homes but forget to obtain the final certificate of occupancy which closes out the building permit. “CO’s” correspond to not only the house itself, but also to decks, fences, pool gates, porches, smoke and CO detectors and more. Since a final walk through is done prior to closing by the Building Inspector, smart sellers should ensure that their paperwork is in order early on, and not wait until a closing date is set.